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Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

Some incredibly rich theater criticism from one of LA’s best. THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? Ernest Kearney – Working Author It is a question of passion in Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?” Not the mass produced, test marketed variety of “passion” favored by copywriters, but the genuine article, that all-consuming fervor […]

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 95% - SWEET

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Sick of this accursed heatwave? Longing for the thrills and chills of the Halloween season to commence? No need to pray to the Great Old Ones, just slither on down to the little theater on the corner of Lexington and McCadden and be indoctrinated into H.P. Lovecraft’s weird and terrifying universe. I don’t usually […]

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Through a magical, musical tour, with memorable song and dance numbers, sure to wow the audience, such as ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz,”and “Roll in the Hay,” the audience is sure to burst their seams and roll with laughter. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET This is an EYE-POPPINGLY riotous, beautifully produced, directed, and performed […]

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% - SWEET

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This production, which features Broadway veteran and multiple Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, Adams’ real-life husband, in the role of Willie, Winnie’s there-but-not-there life partner, preserves the universality of Beckett’s vivid stage metaphor while making it seem right at home in Southern California. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET No other dramatist has ever been […]

SPRING AWAKENING (DEAF WEST): 100% - SWEET

SPRING AWAKENING (DEAF WEST): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The ensemble numbers are precisely choreographed by Director Michael Arden and Choreographer Spencer Liff; the signing never gets in the way, and each cast member is vitally utilized like in a giant, coordinated human body, each part giving life to the whole. The second act unfolds into the ultimate tragedy the piece becomes as […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I was remiss in not including this in one of our COWs in August. I am rectifying that remissiveness (is that a word?(It is now!). When Ernest gets his dander up it’s awfully dandy to behold. Case in point, this lambasting  of a recent Matrix Theatre Production. Oof. IN A DARK DARK HOUSE Ernest Kearney […]

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What the script lacks in surprises, it makes up for in its nuanced, beautifully written portrait of Biddle, an inestimable gift to an actor, and one that the wonderful Abatemarco, under the skillful direction of John Henry Davis, exploits to the fullest. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Long Beach’s International City Theatre (ICT) […]

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% - SWEET

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% – SWEET

SWEET I saw one of the most powerful, raw, awesome and tragically-moving performances in memory. Oh, my, it really shook me up. Jay Weston – Huffington Post SWEET The effect is an emotionally exhausting but humanizing depiction of the bebop jazz pioneer. Even though Parker passed away much too soon, at age 34, for 70 […]

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This production of In a Dark Dark House is theatre at its best! Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld SWEET “Dark House”‘s gripping two hours at the Matrix benefits from clear visual realization and the all-pro cast’s confident navigation of the play’s language, ideas and emotions. Debra Levine – Arts Meme BITTERSWEET The play is way […]

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% - SWEET

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Director Jason Alexander, who originated the role of Stanley in the Broadway premiere, imparts his command of the material into an attentively drilled cast. Despite limited rehearsal time, the actors have become comfortable enough to dredge shaded subtext from their roles, which is impressive especially under the close scrutiny of an audience shoved smack […]

VISIONARY MAN: 73% - BITTERSWEET

VISIONARY MAN: 73% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET “Visionary Man” currently at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood’s Theatre Row is a powerful, brilliant yet warm and fun show depicting the amazing life of the fascinating materially poor but spiritually rich Georgia dirt farmer turned world renown painter J. B. Murray. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET Director Tom Coleman, who co-wrote the […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

Ernest really likes this play. And when Ernest really likes something, this happens. THE BROTHERS SIZE Ernest Kearney – Working Author In describing his play “The Brothers Size”, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney affirms, “Ritual is not new…. The ritual onstage is taking these very old stories, archetypes, myths, and even rumors…. Hoping to create evenings […]

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET The battle over Oshoosi’s fate plays out with thrilling immediacy in this staging by Shirley Jo Finney, who also directed “In the Red and Brown Water” at the Fountain. She is ably assisted by Hana S. Kim’s evocative, abstract set, Ameenah Kaplan’s powerful choreography, Peter Bayne’s original music arranged by Brenda Lee Eager, and […]

Final Chance to Catch My Shows "Linden Arden" and "Out My Window" Tonight

Final Chance to Catch My Shows “Linden Arden” and “Out My Window” Tonight

I believe Linden Arden Stole the Highlights is completely sold out for its 10pm curtain tonight, but there are usually a couple of no shows, so stop on by Theatre Asylum and you just might get a final look at the show the critics are calling “Riveting!” “Superb!” and “Fascinating!”. No really, they are. You […]

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% - SWEET

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET I’d never heard Van Morrison’s “Linden Arden Stole the Highlights” before I saw Colin Mitchell’s play of the same name. Frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Mitchell has taken the rather obscure lyrics of that 1974 song and created a fully fleshed-out character whose story makes for riveting theater. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET […]

My Other Fringe Show "Out My Window" Opens this Friday, June 6, 7pm, Theatre Asylum

My Other Fringe Show “Out My Window” Opens this Friday, June 6, 7pm, Theatre Asylum

Yes, it’s true I am actually involved with ANOTHER show besides the one I’ve written and am performing in, Linden Arden Stole the Highlights (tickets almost gone for opening!), I am playing the role of Herr Director on this one. Its opens this Friday, June 6th, 7pm at Theatre Asylum. It’s a beautiful piece written […]

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% - SWEET

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% – SWEET

BITTER If you’re going to update a classic work, ask why. If its themes resonate with you, and remind you of contemporary issues, do you really need to rewrite the thing? Mightn’t that classic text still serve a really pointed, personal director’s vision? Even a literal one? You could teach McLaughlin’s Ajax in Iraq in […]

THE GUARDSMAN (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 88% - SWEET

THE GUARDSMAN (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 88% – SWEET

SWEET But it is Molnar’s ability to turn larger-than-life circumstances and situations into everyday happenings that not only touch, but illuminate and inspire that makes this play the joy that it is. Radomir Vojtech Luza – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET This ninety minute show is, simply, a pleasure. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles SWEET The Guardsman, Ferenc Molnar’s […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“To judge from Mr. LaBute’s body of work, one can imagine him as a child attending a performance of Peter Pan and clapping his hands bloodied to bring “Tink” back to life.Only to see her gang raped and left spread eagle on Marooner’s Rock by Nibs, Tootles and the rest of the Lost Boys Gang. […]

A DELICATE BALANCE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 96% - SWEET

A DELICATE BALANCE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 96% – SWEET

SWEET In her emotionally astute staging, director Robin Larsen sets her dream cast loose upon Albee’s fascinating, frustrating material, which ranges from the boozily meandering to the brilliant. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Never bet against the Odyssey Theatre putting on a terrific show. Its current run of A Delicate Balance is among […]

ALTAR BOYZ (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

ALTAR BOYZ (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Christian boy band known as the Altar Boyz have returned to L.A. for the first time in five years in a no-frills production that proves that even without a fancy set, pricy costumes, and surround sound, entertainment value can remain high when performances sparkle under a director as imaginative as Kristin Towers-Rowles. Steven […]

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Performances from the strong 11-member company are first rate, and Sossi directs his cast to play the lengthy, absurdist drama for maximum laughs. Yet there is a dark and disturbing undercurrent flowing beneath the allegorical farce that only fully emerges in the play’s final, devastating moments. What’s missing throughout is a sense of rising […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

Ernest just imbues his reviews with such intellectual play that they almost always stand out. Another beauty. Oh. He also mentions the Lemon in this one so there’s that… DOCTOR ANONYMOUS Ernest Kearney – Working Author Joel Daavid is an excellent designer and for “Doctor Anonymous” now playing at the Zephyr theatre on Melrose he […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

  “Opening night for this show was interesting in one regard, half the house, literally half the house, was press. I haven’t seen such a cluster of critics and reviewers assembled for an opening night since I don’t know when. (Kudos to publicist Lucy Pollak). I couldn’t help thinking if an asteroid struck the place […]

DOCTOR ANONYMOUS: 64% - BITTERSWEET

DOCTOR ANONYMOUS: 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Based on the true story of Dr. John Fryer, the Philadelphia psychiatrist who bravely came out at the Association’s Philadelphia conference in 1972, Doctor Anonymous is a well-intentioned piece that suffers from a too-episodic structure whose scenes don’t always fit together smoothly. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET This is a world-premiere production of […]

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% - SWEET

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Clark is smart to envision a near-future, fear-based world that’s taken its cue from the chilling rash of school shootings that have occurred over the past decade or so—even if Quinn, the loner who befriends Lucy, is a little predictable in his black trench coat and military boots. The current-topicality of it engages. And […]

FLYIN' WEST (ICT): 77% - SWEET

FLYIN’ WEST (ICT): 77% – SWEET

SWEET In her Opening Night remarks, International City Theatre artistic director desai referred to ICT’s ongoing efforts to reach out to a more ethnically diverse audience. Flyin’ West succeeds in doing just that, and wonderfully so, while at the same time being far more than a mere “niche-audience” production. Well worth being seen by playgoers […]

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% - SWEET

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Eventually there was a revelation on many levels making this one of the most unique theatrical experiences in my more than half century of theatrical experiences. Go and watch this show. You will experience fine acting, considerable wit and a deeply poignant story. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET English playwright Caryl Churchill examines […]

Critique of the Week (On a Monday)

Critique of the Week (On a Monday)

This is – as always – a top notch review from Ernest, but what I like most about it is this sort of “side bar” he takes in the middle of it to basically “dress down” another production that took issue with one of his other reviews, which he leaves nameless. It’s a schizophrenic excursion […]

THE WRONG MAN: 93% - SWEET

THE WRONG MAN: 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET At fourteen songs, and one act that’s slightly less than an hour, this is more a cabaret performance than a musical. It has a skeletal plot: In Las Vegas, Duran (Ross Golan) a simple man meets Mariana (Jennifer Brasuell) a sexy bad girl, with catastrophic results. After a one nightstand, he’s framed for her […]